A total of twenty-eight (28) vulnerable families in the parish of St. Andrew are the beneficiaries of a US$170, 000 renewable energy pilot project in the form of a grant from South Korea.
The pilot project, which was officially launched in the big parish during a ceremony last week Friday at Bain’s Upper Level Conference room is being funded as bilateral assistance to the island by the Koreans.
The project is geared at helping to improve the livelihood and quality of life of vulnerable persons and enterprises in rural communities through the use of renewable and energy efficient systems.
The beneficiaries will include single parents with at least one child going to school, elderly vulnerable people and four (4) agro processors.
According to Project Officer in the Energy Division within the Ministry of Finance and Energy, Leslie Smith, one of the criteria’s used by the Ministry of Social Development for the selection of these beneficiaries was that “these people do not have access to any electricity at the moment and so this opportunity will provide them with free, sustainable energy from renewable sources, in this case Solar PV Systems.”
This is not the first renewable energy project to be undertaken in the country.
Smith stated the project serves as “another component of what is referred to as the Energy Poverty Relief Programme, where we bring energy to vulnerable people.
“In the past we would have given stoves, cooking gas, LED lamps to some people and now we are continuing our effort to bring renewable energy at no cost to these people,” he said.
“These systems will be erected onto the homes of these persons. It’s going to be off grid systems for the single parents and the elderly (but) the agro processors will get grid type systems and will be connected to the grid,” he added.
According to Smith, three persons have been contracted to do the project and within the coming weeks the first dismemberment of funds will be made to them and thereafter they have three (3) months to complete the installation.
As part of the contract, these persons will “have an additional six (6) months to maintain and train the persons to use the systems.
The project is expected to provide clean energy as well as contribute to reducing energy costs for the beneficiaries, reducing carbon footprint through the use of low emission systems.
Smith sees the project as helping to offset hundreds of tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere and helping to enhance “our climate system or not contributing further to climate change and the effects of climate change”.
As a pilot project the lessons learnt will also contribute to the design and implementation of future and scaled-up projects with similar objectives.
Smith said, “if all goes well we might be able to leverage other funding…to assist other persons with similar enterprise.”
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY following the ceremony, Korean Ambassador, Doo-Young Lee expressed the view that “this project is a good model for corporation between Korea and Grenada.
“It is my great pleasure to be here…we will try our best to cooperate in terms of financial and Technical Corporation,” he said.